This Whole30 Panera Fuji apple salad with chicken is a paleo copycat of the delicious Panera salad with no sugar, dairy, or funky ingredients! Bright, flavorful, and light, this Whole30 Panera Fuji apple salad with chicken is a delicious Whole30 lunch or light Whole30 dinner recipe. One of my favorite Whole30 copycat recipes!
Hello, there, apple chips.
Hello there, fresh radicchio.
Why hello, tender chicken and creamy, lightly sweet Whole30 balsamic dressing.
Oh so good to see you again.
When it comes to light but flavorful salads, Panera absolutely nails it, time and time again. And if you have to grab a quick bite, it’s really one of the better places to head if you’re trying to stick to mostly clean eating principles. In fact, their new menu claims they’re now 100% “clean eating,” which is fantastic! Those principles being top-of-mind in the mainstream is a huge step forward to reducing the weird, harmful ingredients that have been a standard in the typical American diet for way too long.
And in general, most of the Panera menu items are made from primarily whole foods, and you can feel pretty good about feeding your family what they serve.
But if you look closely at the nutrition labels, you’ll see a few sneaky ick ingredients still lingering: corn syrup, vegetable oils, sugar, corn starch, etc. Not in large quantities and not the worst when it comes down to it, but if you’re on a Whole30 or strictly paleo, it’s a non-starter.
And guess what? It doesn’t even matter! Because this Whole30 Panera Fuji apple salad with chicken is possibly even more delicious than the original and squeaky clean, as well as Whole30 and paleo (Duh).
I copied the Panera Fuji apple salad closely, omitting the roquefort, of course, and keeping everything sugar-free and homemade. That means homemade apple chips, homemade creamy Whole30 balsamic dressing (Perfect on everything, and especially this Whole30 Panera Fuji apple salad with chicken), and perfectly cooked, tender chicken breasts.
Filling, flavorful, and light, with a bit of natural sweetness from the balsamic dressing and apple chips, it’s a much-needed pick-me-up recipe when a Whole30 starts feeling heavy and super savory, loaded with sweet potatoes and fried eggs and avocados. So here’s the deal:
Can I substitute another meat for chicken?
Hell yeah you can, sister. Seared salmon would be especially good on this salad, though I’d hesitate to top it with steak. You want to make sure each ingredient element of the salad shines, and steak might overpower them.
Can I make this Whole30 Panera Fuji Apple Salad with Chicken ahead?
Absolutely! Everything will stay super fresh, and just dress it right before you eat. Meal prep perfection.
Can I use premade apple chips?
You can! If you’re not on a Whole30, any apple chip will do. If you are on a Whole30, you’ll need to make sure your apple chips are compliant; most include sugar to boost the natural sweetness of the apple. These Bare Naked Apple Chips blend red and Fuji apples and have only one ingredient: yep… apples. Use about 1 cup of apple chips per recipe or more if you like! It’s your Whole30 Panera Fuji apple salad with chicken; do you.
How do I make the creamy Whole30 balsamic dressing?
It’s so easy! Check out my recipe here. I promise you’ll love it.
Whole30 Panera Fuji Apple Salad with Chicken (Paleo, Sugar + Dairy Free)
- 1 Fuji apple thinly sliced OR
- 1 cup Whole30 compliant apple chips plus more as desired
- 1 medium chicken breast
- 1 teaspoon salt and pepper
- 4-6 cups mixed greens
- 1/2 cup grape tomatoes halved
- 1/4 cup red onion thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup pecans lightly toasted in a dry skillet until browned
- 1/2 cup creamy Whole30 balsamic dressing to taste about 1/4 cup
- If making apple chips: preheat oven to 225º F. Arrange apple slices on a baking sheet and bake 90 minutes, flipping halfway. Bake another 30 minutes, if desired, for a crispier apple chip.
- Bake chicken breast: Preheat oven to 325º F. Season chicken breast with plenty of salt and a bit of freshly cracked black pepper. Bake 18 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 160º. Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature.
- Plate salad: split mixed greens between serving bowls, then top with other ingredients. Toss with balsamic dressing until lightly dressed.
Cheryl Malik is the recipe developer, writer, and photographer behind the healthy, flavorful, family friendly recipes at 40 Aprons. She’s been a blogger for 10+ years and is known for her delicious recipes and detailed recipe instructions. Cheryl is a mom of three who lives in Memphis, TN.